Covid-19: Two Catholic churches ready to take part in MCCY pilot that allows 100 people at services
SINGAPORE — The Catholic Church in Singapore has identified two churches that are ready to take part in a Government pilot programme that allows religious organisations to increase the capacity of people at worship services from 50 to 100. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore — which oversees 32 Catholic churches around the island — announced this on its website on Thursday (Aug 6).
- The Roman Catholic Church in Singapore has two churches that are ready to take part in MCCY’s pilot
- The pilot that begins on Aug 7 allows places of worship to have 100 participants at prayer services
- No Catholic churches were on the list of first 12 places picked
- It has been just about a month since Catholic churches progressively resumed Masses
SINGAPORE — The Catholic Church in Singapore has identified two churches that are ready to take part in a Government pilot programme that allows religious organisations to increase the capacity of people at worship services from 50 to 100.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore — which oversees 32 Catholic churches around the island — announced this on its website on Thursday (Aug 6).
When contacted, the archdiocese’s communications director Andre Ahchak declined to release the names of the two churches that were identified for the pilot programme. “We may (announce) that some time later,” he said.
Its statement came a day after it declined comment when TODAY asked about the exclusion of Catholic churches from the list of 12 religious organisations picked for the pilot by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY).
The pilot starts on Friday, with the 12 places of worship selected after a consultation with religious leaders, who are also members of the National Steering Committee on Racial and Religious Harmony.
Taoist temples were also left out of MCCY’s list, which was released on Monday.
This drew a response and appeal by the Taoist Mission Singapore — an organisation that aims to develop the understanding of Taoism in Singapore — which asked for a temple to be added to the list.
Separately, the Singapore Taoist Federation had a meeting with MCCY on Wednesday and the outcome was that five Taoist temples were nominated to be added to the pilot programme at a later date, subject to the ministry’s approval of their safe management plans for Covid-19.
The Catholic Church said in its statement that it has been “just about a month” after its churches opened their doors progressively to congregants for Mass, which is the central form of communal worship and thanksgiving among Catholics.
It would therefore like the parishes to have more time to tighten and strengthen their ground operations to handle the current maximum limit of 50 people at Mass.
It also said that MCCY officers had conducted thorough inspections at some of its churches between July 20 and 28 to understand how visitors were handled and how the priests heard confession.
“On the whole MCCY officers were pleased (at) the extra mile (that) the archdiocese had gone to recommend additional guidelines, particularly in the area of the celebration of the sacraments (such as Mass and confession),” it said. The statement did not elaborate on what these guidelines are.
Procedures for daily Mass, weddings, funerals as well as processes and measures for the holy communion at these services and events were also scrutinised. During holy communion, Catholics consume consecrated bread that they believe is the body of Jesus Christ.
TODAY understands that the Catholic Church has allowed the bread to be received only by hand and not on the tongue, which was an option before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Now that two churches are identified for the pilot project, the archdiocese’s Covid-19 task force will continue to work closely with parish priests and their teams to ensure that systems and processes are “robust” to eventually receive more congregants, it said.
MCCY said on Monday that the 12 places of worship taking part in the pilot were chosen because they had already safely conducted congregational and other worship services for up to 50 people under the guidelines during this second phase of Singapore’s reopening after the circuit breaker to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Apart from having an updated safe management plan, they must continue to ensure that worshippers wear masks, keep a safe distance and do not intermingle, and that no singing or other live performances are allowed.
Related topicsCovid-19 coronavirus Catholic Church MCCY worship
Read more of the latest in